Flying sucks, especially long-haul. I appreciate it’s an inescapable part of going away, but it’s just so hideously sweaty, boring an uncomfortable. There are, however, a few things that make the whole gruelling experience more bearable.
1. Don’t wear make-up on a plane. Yes, you’ll look good for the first hour of the flight but then the canned air and napping will cause it to crust over like a bad pie. Plus it’ll dry your skin up and clog your pores so you’ll be a spotty Herbert in all of your glamorous holiday shots. If you really can’t bear to go out without any make-up at all, try a tinted moisturiser or take stuff to slap on towards the end of your flight.
2. Take your own food. Most of the stuff they serve up in the air is on a palatable par with two-day old smegma. You’ll be cranky if you arrive ravenously hungry so take some emergency snacks in case the aeroplane dinner roulette wheel doesn’t spin in your favour. For instance, on the way out to Florida I had a commendably edible chicken tikka thing. However, on the way home I cracked open the ‘Breakfast Box’ I’d been handed to discover my morning meal consisted of a probiotic yoghurt, a sugary-sweet orange and cranberry ‘mini loaf’, a box of raisins the size of a postage stamp and something else that looked like a small, fossilised turd. There was also a jumbo sized polo, which would have been the best bit had I not popped it in my mouth just as we hit some turbulence, swallowing it whole and nearly causing an in-flight emergency.
If you’re on a no-frills airline it makes even more sense to bring your own snacks as you’ll have to pay for everything in flight and they like to charge something like £8.50 for a dessicated old cheese and tomato sandwich and a Panda Pop. Which is rather unsporting considering they’ve got everyone held captive in a flying metal box. But, as the old adage goes, ‘he who goes unprepared must prepare to pay through the arse for a crap lunch’. Take heed and pack some Cheetos.
3. Rehydrate! I’m writing this as the plane is preparing to land and my skin is really feeling the effects of eight hours in an airborne tin can. Everything is tight and dry but clammy with hours-old sweat. Gross. If you’re going to be drinking booze make sure you replenish yourself with water too unless you want to emerge from the aircraft looking as shrivelled as a toasted maggot.
4. Freshen up. Spruce yourself up about an hour before landing so you’re reasonably fresh for the transfer. Take your favourite moisturiser, deodorant, a few cotton wool pads and a light toner to refresh your skin. I recommend Liz Earle or Lush’s Eau Roma water. A toothbrush is always sensible too; I flew with British Airways, who I always thought were fairly decent until I nearly choked to death in the loo on the shedding bristles of their shoddy gob-cleansing apparatus. The travel toothpaste always tastes like arse too.
Eau Roma Water, £3.75/100ml from Lush
Body spray and perfume is always a good shout, but be considerate. It isn’t nice to gas your fellow travellers, even if it is with Chanel No 5. Decant your holiday fragrance into a Travelo bottle before you go; they save space and won’t get smashed.
Travalo Perfume Atomiser, from £6.50 in a range of colours from Amazon.co.uk
5. Wear cabin-friendly clothing. I think it is really important even on short flights to make sure you’re dressed comfortably. Only wear heels as a last resort (i.e. you’re headed for party central and you can’t fit all your dancing shoes in your suitcase without going over your allowance). On the flight home I was in the bogs as soon as the seatbelt light was switched off and getting into a fetching pair of faithful GAP pyjama bottoms circa 2006. ‘How embarrassing..!’ exclaimed my mother as I emerged from the lavatories, a vision in red and purple stripes, which was a bit rich coming from the woman who that week had been rocking a camel toe so severe it wasn’t so much a toe as a full-blown hoof. Did I give a shit? I did not. While everyone else was confined to the tyranny of their jeans I was rolling around in my comfortable jammy bottoms. It was ace. Other sensible items include flight socks and hoodies; they double up as pillows and you can use them to carry all the stuff that doesn’t fit in your hand luggage through security.
6. On a similar note, make sure you’ve got appropriate clothing for when you land. Don’t be that twat who lands at freezing Heathrow at 4am in tiny shorts and flip-flops because it was 35 degrees when they left Bermuda 7 hours earlier.
What do you do when you’re flying? Do you just sloth out like me or are you a die-hard flying dreamboat?